Hopefully, we all know by now that the new version of Google Analytics, GA4, will be replacing Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023. Well, one of the automatic views for GA4 has a different way of categorizing sources of traffic — which could really skew your understanding of any paid advertising.

If you head to Reports and then Acquisition in GA4, you’ll notice the word “Channel” all over the place.

In the old Universal Analytics, most paid social ads would fall in the (Other) category. However, GA4, you’ll want to be careful to ensure that your social ads are categorized as “Paid Social” and don’t end up as “Organic Social”. Otherwise, you could really skew analysis!

To ensure your paid social ads are categorized as “Paid Social”, be sure to put “paid” or “cpc” as the UTM source medium in any ads you (or your agencies!) run. Need a refresh on UTM codes? Need help making UTM codes for GA4? We have you covered.

Of course, it’s more than just “Paid Social” that could trip you up. Be sure to check out the Google help article to ensure your other sources, like email and display ads, are categorized properly.